The Gift of Knowledge

Novena to the Holy Spirit (Introduction+Nine Days)

Day Five-Tuesday of the 7th week of Easter

When the disciples got near him, they asked him. "Why do you speak to them in parables?" Jesus answered "To you has been given knowledge of the mysteries of the reign of God, but it has not been given to the others." [Matt 13:10-11]

I find this passage quite intriguing about 'knowledge' as one of the 'gifts' of the Holy Spirit. We see that we are speaking of knowledge as 'revelation' in this case. Revelation unfolds a 'mystery' that goes beyond our intellect. It is 'given' by someone. It is 'received' by some and not all.

To the 'seeker' this scriptural passage alone might open up a locked gate behind which lies untold treasure. To accept this statement of Jesus on its face value, it seems to me, breaks down many of the barriers to acquiring true faith; and faith is the essential virtue needed for life with God. If this scriptural passage is taken as 'true' (and therefore worthy of pursuit); then knowledge of the mysteries of God, doesn't require endless searching and effort. Instead it requires the humility to accept a 'free gift'. The root meaning of humility comes from the term 'humus' as in 'the quality or matter which enriches soil'.

The actual parable that prompted the question to Jesus, 'Why do you speak to them in parables?' was the story of 'the farmer who sows seed' [Matt 13:1-9]. The farmer is God who scatters seed everywhere, not just where its growth is most probable. (As Christians we must trust that the divine seed is in everyone). Because of the various soil conditions that 'receive' the seed; it either flourishes, or it doesn't. In this sense, each and every person has a spiritual plot of fallow (unplanted) land with the responsibility to cultivate his/her own life's circumstance; and prepare themselves to receive God's message and his graces. This parable implies that even without supernatural aid the very 'natural law' written upon our hearts dispose us to lead a good life. This good life is characterized by true humility (humus), and thus, can receive 'knowledge' (revelation of God and his Kingdom) as a 'free gift'.

If you read Jesus' explanation as to why he uses parables [see Matt 13:13-23] then you discover that they are an attempt to communicate with those who 'Look - but do not see', 'Listen - but do not hear'. We can take that to mean that they are not truly disposed (as 'humus', good soil) to receive revelation, but rather are 'hard of heart' or 'choked off with weeds', etc.. Not having the proper soil bed they need, they 'look and listen' - fruitlessly.

The clearest example of receiving 'knowledge' as 'free gift' versus logical conclusion is when Peter answers the question of Jesus: 'Who do you say I am?' 'You are the Messiah', replies Peter. At which Jesus says, "Blest are you Peter…No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." [see Matt 16:15-17] Peter may not be the perfect example of true humility, but he is 'humble enough' (meaning his life's soil is fertile enough) to receive the revelation of God.

Can you see the vital connection between 'humility' and 'knowledge'? I'm not speaking of humility as a personality trait, but a healthy spiritual soil bed waiting to support and nourish revelation. For me at least, I experience 'knowledge as gift' when I least expect it: when I have not been looking for a 'Truth'. If I experience deeper insight into a matter that is already known to me; then I would call that 'understanding', our next 'gift'.

Prayer for today: Lord Jesus, today for the first time I open my heart with humility to enrich the seed bed of my soul. Please plant the seeds of knowledge (or ask for another spiritual gift that you desire_______) here and now.

Reflection Question: Are we disposed to receive the 'seeds of knowledge of the kingdom of God' and allow them to flourish? What specific steps could we take to 'enrich our life's soil', to give it a more 'humus' like quality? (i.e. increase prayer time, decrease anxieties, etc.)

Come Holy Spirit; fill the hearts of your faithful people. Enkindle in us the fire of your divine love.

1 comment:

Evelyn said...

Thank you for these posts. i've been doing the novena and finding it amazing. I had not realized how much time I had been spending with the Spirit--I knew it was God, of course, but it has been a joy to recognize just which Person has been my guide.